What happens when a division of the nation’s second-largest payroll company teams up with the creator of an online benefits education and enrollment platform for group insurance products in the voluntary marketplace?

In a nutshell: greater bandwidth for delivering the creative yet also cognitive science-based centerpiece of this strategic partnership whose aim is to elevate employee engagement during open enrollment. BeneTrac and Trustnode recently announced that they will jointly market their respective products and services to employers and brokers.

BeneTrac, a Paychex company, provides sophisticated Web-based electronic enrollment and employee benefits administration software, while Trustnode’s proprietary authoring platform is driven by The Potters and Friends, a cast of programmable, animated cartoon characters linked to an insurance knowledge base.

These characters respond to user input and promote various products through story-telling and dynamic data visualizations, which help personalize the educational experience.

Trustnode’s platform will be added to BeneTrac’s corporate accounts and Trustnode will configure BeneTrac’s voluntary benefit modules to include company branding and other assets. BeneTrac also will seek to capitalize on its relationships with more than 400 industry carriers. Both companies will be part of each other’s business-development efforts.

Trustnode describes itself as a mix of former insurance executives, business consultants, Silicon Valley-based video game and user-experience designers, and college professors who sought to "make business transactions more fun and simple."

The company’s chief objective is to depart from traditional education and enrollment tools by offering a more meaningful approach to explaining voluntary insurance products. One customer, a nationwide retailer with 8,000 employees and 330 locations, quadrupled plan participation rates during last year’s open-enrollment period.

In addition, a large multi-line insurance carrier more than quadrupled its take-up rates on a short-term disability offering to 47% from 11%.

"That type of improvement is that much more noteworthy in an environment in which companies are keenly interested in maximizing the return on their benefits investment," according to Trustnode co-founder Kevin Dunn.

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